It's Not Too Late to Get Unique Affordable Gifts

Old fashioned tin kitchen cannistersProcrastinators take heart, it may not be too late to find something for the remaining names on your gift list. Nor are you limited to whatever's left on the shelves of a big box store. Unique finds can still be had.

Customization as a trend in retail isn't new, but the Internet has blown the doors off everyone else when it comes to finding customized items -- and much of it is very affordable.
A visit to Etsy, is all you really need. The site is comprised of individual sellers, or shops, selling handmade or vintage wares. It's like a quaint main street on steroids, boasting more than 400,000 sellers. There are some great customizable options, just search with that as a key word, and many sellers offer a custom version of pretty much anything on their site. It is handmade, after all.

But for a last minute gift, Etsy can be a procrastinators dream come true. I scored a one-of-a-kind belt buckle, perfect for a 21 year old. The seller responded to my shipping question immediately and sent a photo of the object in a printable gift card, just in case the item didn't make it in time. It did, was a big hit with the young hipster, and set me back just $28 with shipping.

Some sellers, including my belt buckle purveyor, have closed their shops for the holidays, but plenty still offer expedited shipping on unique gifts. Or use the Etsy "shop local" option to search for sellers close to home and pick up the purchase in person. A search for my area revealed hundreds of options, including hand-knit caps and gloves, decorative accessories and artwork and most are priced at less than $50.

Threadless, another well known seller of unusual non-mass produced items promises delivery by Christmas Eve. Anyone can submit a T-shirt design and visitors to the site vote for their favorites. Top designs get made, the designer earns a cash payment and we can buy them for holiday gifts for $9 to $20. It's not exactly custom, but you won't find it at the local mall, either.
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